2018: Year in Review

As 2018 comes to a close, I thought I’d post my year in review. I cannot believe how quickly the year flew by, although every year seems to pass quicker than the last. It’s scary, yet it doesn’t stop me from constantly looking forward to something in the future rather than making sure to appreciate each day as it comes. Alas, that is a subject for another blog post!

This year came with a lot of changes. For one, my diet changed significantly since I was unofficially diagnosed with IBS at the end of last year. For the most part, I’ve given up wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, and lactose and all the foods and beverages that contain them. There are a lot of them! I’ve learned how much and how often my system can handle certain ingredients and how to portion control to avoid an outbreak of symptoms. It’s been a challenge but for the most part, I feel SO much better than I did this time last year. The constant full/bloated feeling has subsided by about 80%. Going out to eat (and sharing appetizers) is trickier, but my friends and family have been so supportive in this regard!

I broke ties with the group of women I’d socialized with most often over the last few years. I have a lot of other close friends but since most of them aren’t local, my social life took a bit of a beating. To be honest, I was 100% okay with that. Because of the faith/love/support shown to me by my other friends, and knowing they were a phone call away and always had my back, I didn’t mind losing the company of women who no longer provided that level of friendship or wanted it from me. I still feel a pang of hurt over the way things went down, mostly because my argument was with only one woman and yet I somehow became persona non grata to several more. I shrug it off because I obviously overestimated the strength of the other relationships and you can’t miss what you never really had. I am happier now and more comfortable and confident in my social circles than I’ve been in a long time. I also have a greater appreciation of the ease of friendship I share with my other pals—some for two decades—and the freedom to be myself.

I made significant progress in my writing this year. My seventh romantic comedy was published in April and I completed another one, including rounds and rounds (and rounds) of revisions and edits from outside critique partners and beta readers. Until now, I’ve had publishing contracts in advance of completing a book and set release dates. That is not the case for my newest novel. I don’t know when it will be published because I’m seeking a different path this time around and it might take a very long time. In the meantime, I’ve started plotting out my next book and can’t wait to lose myself in another fictional world.

I attended three writer’s conferences this year, both to hone my craft and network. I became more involved in my local writing community and spent more time attending (and participating in) book signings and readings, and dining with other authors/bloggers/publishing professionals.

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 100 books so far this year! Favorites include One Day in December by Josie Silver, The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, Limelight by Amy Poepell, On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Ried.

I’m dating here and there, but there is nothing monumental to report on that front as of now 😊

Thanks to AncestryDNA, I connected with a cousin I never knew I had. Her great grandmother and my grandfather (on my father’s side) were sister and brother. The discovery had me shedding happy, sappy tears! We’re going to meet for dinner after the new year.

I’m still at the day job and happy to report that there is nothing to report there: I still have a job, a steady pay check, health insurance, and a 401k. Yay!

I don’t take the good health of my parents and other close relatives for granted and I’m happy to say that everyone is doing well.

With 16 days left on the calendar, that is my year in review for 2018 so far. Best wishes to you all for a merry and healthy holiday season.

New Year’s Resolutions—2018

Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s been a couple years since I’ve made official New Year’s Resolutions, but I’m inspired to make some goals for the next 365 days. These are goals I hope to accomplish and principles I’ll aspire to abide by, but no pressure and no punishment for failure will be administered.

I hope to complete one novel and make significant progress on another (at minimum). I also want to continue to hone my craft so that each book is better than the last.

I plan to experiment more with cooking. Stomach issues have basically changed my life and made it really frustrating for me to go out to eat—one of my favorite pastimes. I aim to continue to learn more about what ingredients and combinations of food will/won’t trigger discomfort so that eating in restaurants will be fun again. I’d also like to broaden my menu at home. I’ve never enjoyed cooking—eating is much more my style—but I’m proud of how far I’ve come already. Maybe I’ll even host a dinner party in 2018 (but probably not…)

I will attend as many “writerly” events as possible, whether it be book signings, author panels, writers’ conferences, happy hours, etc. I enjoy spending time with other writers so much, so why not do it as often as possible? First up, my annual trip to California with my writing tribe is in less than two weeks!

I vow to nurture my friendships with those people who make me happy, accept me for who I am, and truly add joy to my life. I want the most important people in my life to know how much I love them and am there for them, and I am grateful to have friends and family who are there for me as well.

I do not want to waste time on relationships that require me to work too hard, walk on eggshells, or second-guess my own value/worth.

I will try to let go of the past, meaning I will hold hard to the good memories and try to learn from my mistakes, but also realize that change is inevitable and often meant to be.

I aim to truly open myself up to the possibility of meeting someone to share/spend my life with.

I plan to appreciate the quality time I spend with my family, my parents in particular.

I hope to stress the small stuff a lot less. I am definitely getting better at this one. I think it might be related to my entrance into middle age. Some things do get better with age, and letting go of needless worrying is one of them!

And there you have them. Wish me luck!

Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions? If so, feel free to share some of them in the comments.

 

happy birthday to me!

I’m taking a break from the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour to wish myself a happy birthday. Yes, today is my birthday—the anniversary of another revolution around the sun. I took the day off from work today and am going to spend the afternoon being lazy which, in my case, means going for a run (unfortunately on the treadmill since it’s raining outside) and editing my current novel! And then I will spend the evening being festive with some of my favorite people. It will be a good day. I try to be consistently aware of how much good I have in my life and how fortunate I am even though I know yearning for more is human nature and something I will always do.

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My family held a dual birthday celebration for my niece and me this weekend and as we collectively blew out the candles on our cake, I couldn’t think of anything to wish for. Although I am slowly replacing the furniture in my apartment, I had no desire to wish for a new kitchen table and chair set. And while I hope the novel I’m releasing early next year will be successful, I didn’t feel like wishing for it to be bestseller either. I was not going to waste a wish asking for something impossible, like my best friend Alan miraculously coming back to life, and I didn’t feel like wishing to fall in love because there are too many conditions associated with that one and the candles would melt before I could finish. So, what I wished for was simply to be a better me and to achieve some of the personal goals I set for myself.  It’s convenient that my birthday falls right before the New Year as what I hope to work on during my next revolution around the sun can double as New Year’s resolutions.

 

I think my biggest accomplishment this past year was learning to better balance my job as a paralegal with my career as a writer and my personal life. I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come in this regard. I stress far less about my day job than I used to. My old boss used to say: The work will be there tomorrow. Do the best you can. Give yourself a break. It’s trademarks, not brain surgery. I finally get it. Not only do I physically leave the office on time, but I mentally leave my job at the office. The work will be there when I return at 9:30 the next morning. The quality of my work has not suffered, but my writing productivity has increased significantly, and I’m no longer always the last of my friends to arrive at the bar for happy hour.

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This year, while continuing to work on the job/writing/play balance, I want to be more consciously aware of what does and does not make me happy and where possible, flush anything that doesn’t. And quickly.

I don’t want to feel like my happiness rests upon one particular item on my wish list coming true because it doesn’t. Whether my books hit the bestseller lists or I meet the man of my dreams, my life is really good. Both of the above things coming to life can only take a life that’s good and make it better. And that’s only if I’m true to myself about what really makes me happy—truly, authentically happy and by my standards, no one else’s.

I want to hold less tightly to both of the above items and be mindful of my wellbeing at all times. I have spent sleepless nights worrying about how to market my books and why one book doesn’t sell better no matter how many accolades it gets. Or whether I was right to move on from a possible relationship that didn’t feel right no matter how much the guy liked me. Any time the things that are supposed to make my life better (writing, romance) are wreaking havoc on my wellbeing, something is wrong. I know myself—probably too well—if something didn’t feel right, it’s probably because it was wrong and I need to move on and cease wondering if I did the right thing, if I will regret a decision, or if I blew the last opportunity that will come my way. Since I can’t know the answers, I need to trust myself at the time and move on. And tossing and turning watching the clock tick toward morning doesn’t serve to improve my book sales, it just creates dark circles under my eyes. The important thing to remember is how much I love the writing process. A LOT.

I want to have more confidence in myself, raise myself up, and believe the hype.

I want to live any disappointment that comes my way in the moment and then let it go. Any let down is a temporary setback that has no permanent bearing on my future and I do not want to get caught up in long-term negativity. As Annie sang, “The sun will come out tomorrow.

I think that’s enough for now with respect to long-term goals for the coming year. I’ll conclude this post with one short-term goal:

HAVE A HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

farewell to 2014

This time last year, I was really looking forward to putting 2013 behind me. In 2013, I broke up with my boyfriend, my sister’s beautiful dog Gypsy passed away, and my boss of seventeen years and best friend was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of Leukemia. So, despite the fact that my third novel and fan favorite Blogger Girl was released to outstanding reviews, and my debut Just Friends with Benefits was re-released by my current publisher, Booktrope, to surprisingly best-seller status, the year was pretty sucky all in all.

2014 started out much better. I began the year with a trip to California with several other authors where we talked, laughed, and drank lots of wine with the beach right outside our door. I met up with a guy I had dated several years ago and had such a wonderful time, I was certain we’d get a second chance. Best of all, my boss found a 100% match for a bone marrow transplant. Things were looking up. Unfortunately, the trip to California only lasted a few days and I returned to New York City and the Polar Vortex with a cold that lasted about four months. Despite the connection I was certain was mutual while out with the guy from my past, he kept putting off a second date until I had to assume he didn’t share my feelings. Worst of all, by far, my boss/best friend lost his battle with cancer, passed away in July, and broke my heart into a million pieces.

2014 wasn’t all bad. My publisher released an ebook collection with my three first novels on Valentine’s Day that made the Kindle Top 100; Blogger Girl and A State of Jane were re-released by Amazon Encore pursuant to an exciting licensing agreement with Booktrope; my fourth novel, How Do You Know?, was published in December, Just Friends with Benefits was released as part of a romance anthology called Blended for Love; and I am already halfway through the first draft of my fifth book, Novel Girl.

More important than “book” stuff, my friends and family really stepped up after my boss died and showed me how much they loved me. Their patience, understanding, and unwillingness to let me feel alone showed me how truly blessed I am and I will be forever grateful even while I’m still dealing with my grief on a daily basis.

I’m no mathematician, but I know that with each passing year, I will get a year older which, as those who know me are well aware, doesn’t thrill me. That being said, I am truly ready to put 2014 behind me. Although I have goals for 2015—publication of Novel Girl, possible solo trip out of the country, potential running of New York City marathon, refurnishing of my apartment—I am not making any formal resolutions. All I really want is to be happy.

Or perhaps the resolution is to figure out what it is that makes me happy and go after it.

Thanks to all of you for keeping up with my blog this past year. I hope I have entertained you with my life and book updates. Happy New Year to you all and see you next year!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

I can’t believe another year is ending. On a professional note, 2013 was a banner year for me. I published my third novel, Blogger Girl, in late August and, so far, readers have embraced it. My debut novel, Just Friends with Benefits, was re-released by Booktrope and, much to my surprise, is my best seller. Since it was re-released in September, I’ve sold several thousand copies compared to the several hundred I sold in the entire three years before that. Blows my mind—in a good way! My sophomore novel, A State of Jane, continues to do well and, finally, I am making very good progress on my fourth novel and hope to have it ready for publication in late 2014 or early 2015. Together with Francine LaSala and Samantha Stroh Bailey, I co-founded BookBuzz, a meet and greet for authors and readers, and we’ve already held two events—one in New York City and one in Toronto— and I met so many amazing authors, bloggers and, of course, readers. I can’t wait until the next event.

 On a personal level, it was a tough year for me. I split with my boyfriend of 1.5 years in February; my sister’s dog, Gypsy, passed away in the spring; one of my best friends (someone I think of as the younger sister I never had) moved across the country and while I supported her reasons for going, I miss her dearly;  and finally, one of my best friends in the entire world—my rock, my “work husband”, my comic relief, my sometimes therapist and really, the best man I know— was diagnosed with Leukemia in July and continues to undergo treatments to save his life— treatments that will continue through much of 2014. I know in my heart he will be okay, but I hate that he has to go through this, and I constantly find myself asking “Why him?”

But it’s not all bad! I thank God for all of the blessings in my life— my family, my friends (you know who you are), my day job, my health, my writing and my good looks (haha just making sure you’re still listening) to get me through the darker times and maintain a positive outlook.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions but I think I am going to take a page (or several hundred) out of my books. My characters make mistakes; they sometimes have poor judgment. Let’s just say, they fuck up. A lot. And so have I. But my characters always learn from their mistakes and come out on the other side a little bit wiser and a lot happier. That’s all I really want. If I am going to look back at my mistakes, I want it to be because I am learning from them; not because I am kicking my ass over making them in the first place. Like my characters, I want to take risks— even those that put my ego on the line or scare me. Especially those that scare me. Some will pan out and others won’t but a wise man once told me that it is the things we don’t do that we regret the most.  Not even trying is worse than giving it your all and failing.

To paraphrase a line from one of my books: It might take me several rounds of edits, but I’m a writer and I’m going to write my own happy ending.

Happy New Year and God bless you all 🙂

Jane Frank’s New Year’s Resolutions 2013

As part of the A State of Jane blog tour with CLP Blog Tours, I was asked to write a guest post on Jane Frank’s New Year’s Resolutions. From studying daily for the LSAT to being nicer to her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, read on and decide for yourself if you think Jane will be able to keep up with these resolutions or if she will give up by Friday Happy Hour!
http://chicklitplus.com/meredith-schorr-post/

New Year’s Resolutions – 2013

As part of my upcoming blog tour for A State of Jane, I wrote a post on Jane Frank’s New Year’s Resolutions.  (It has yet to be posted since my tour does not begin until Wednesday, the 2nd.  Can you spell N.E.R.V.O.U.S.?) Anyway, I mentioned in my post that rather than bore readers with my own resolutions, I thought it would be more fun to share some of Jane’s.  Well, despite the fact that Jane’s resolutions are way more humorous (especially if you have read the book), I have decided to bore you with my own resolutions anyway.  Be forewarned that some of them are quite deep.  No apologies, that’s just the way I roll 🙂    

1.  Try to follow my heart even if the direction scares me.  

2.  Try to live in the moment and not worry about what it “means.”  

3.  Publish 3rd novel.  

4.  Make good dent in 4th novel (first step, start writing it). 

5.  Start appreciating being young, because compared to many people, I am still quite young, instead of fretting so much about getting old and stop paying so much attention to the media about how I’m supposed to act, look and feel at my age. I am my own person, not a number, age group or generation.  

6.   Continue to push myself physically to stay in shape but step back every so often and appreciate the shape I am in.  I probably won’t look as good in ten years and would hate to waste more of my life worrying about getting flabby later instead of appreciating being unflabby now!   

7.  Stop trying to please everyone with both my writing and in general. It’s not possible. Some people won’t like my books. Some people won’t like me. It doesn’t mean I’m not a talented writer and a wonderful person.  

8.  Don’t let anyone, either intentionally or not, make me feel not good enough or “less than.”  

9.  Appreciate what I have but don’t lose sight of what I need.  

10. Stop getting upset when people don’t behave the way I would under the same circumstances. I cannot control the behavior of other people but I can feel good knowing I might be kinder, wiser, more sensitive and stronger than them.  Other times the roles will be reversed.  

11.  Try not to feel guilty for having thoughts and feelings that I wish I didn’t have. It is what it is, I’m human. Live with it.  

12.  Read these resolutions often enough so I don’t forget!

Happy New Year one and all!  

New Year’s Resolutions 2012

I often complain that our society lacks originality, at least from an entertainment perspective. Movies from decades past, like Footloose, have been remade, television shows from the 70s have been modernized for today’s world, like Hawaii Five-O and the epic fail, Charlie’s Angels, and covers of older songs are created every year in the double digits. Under the presumption that my blog could also be considered “entertaining”, I am going to be a hypocrite, forsake creativity and do a remake of my first blog from 2011 – New Year’s Resolutions.

I opted to first read my list from last year to see if I actually stuck to any of my resolutions. Here is a representative progress report:

Finish my second novel – check

Really get into football and not just use it as a an excuse to drink beer on Sundays – Uh, nope. It is still just an excuse to drink beer (and sometimes do shots) on Sundays.

Live in the present and stop worrying about the “what-ifs” – partial check (work in progress.)

Stop taking everything so personally and let go of the things and people who have hurt me in the past – three quarters check -I am not holding any grudges currently, but I am still super-sensitive.

Become an awesome cook – Well, I did make a broccoli soufflé for Chanukah Dinner. While it probably wasn’t “awesome”, it was more than “edible” and second helpings were had by all.

Not too shabby. So here’s what on the list for 2012 in no particular order:

Rather than regret the past and worry about the future, I resolve to focus on the present. (This one is particularly difficult for me.)

I resolve to run another half marathon.

I resolve to watch a baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago – live.

I resolve to finish the first draft of my 3rd novel.

I resolve to write more often. I am not going to put pressure on myself to write every day, but “more often.”

I resolve to cheer on the New York Yankees to their 28th World Series championship. Ok, I cannot really be of direct assistance to the Yankees but there are a handful of tricks I have up my sleeve to increase their chances of success. This includes, but is not limited to, doing topless jumping jacks during pivotal moments in a post season game. Yes, you read that correctly, topless jumping jacks. And while I am only a B cup, trust me, continuous jumping up and down without support hurts the girls. But I do it for my boys 🙂 (By the way, I only do this when watching games at home by myself! I know it seems weird but it worked in 2009 and so I try it every year when I’m desperate. Don’t ask me why I tried it in the first place.) I can’t believe I just admitted that in writing.

I resolve to try to get to work on time, emphasis on try.

I resolve to strength train, take calcium and drink milk. Just because my grandmothers shrunk down to under 5”0′ doesn’t mean I have to!

I resolve to continue to grow up but not grow OLD. (Shout-out to my old roommate and sorority sister, Laurie Zaneski, for this one.)

I resolve to appreciate the people in my life who continue to love and support me and return the love and support in spades.

I resolve not to snap at my patient boss. Just because he’s put up with it for 15 years doesn’t mean he isn’t nearing his threshold level. And besides, he’s a great guy and doesn’t deserve my ‘tude. (most of the time.)

I resolve to stop putting unworthy people on pedestals. I actually resolve to stop putting anyone on a pedestal. No one deserves to be on a pedestal, except for my niece Sarah.

I resolve to make a brisket, with the help of my friend Abbe.

I resolve to mention my niece Sarah more often in my blogs as per her request. (See above.)

I resolve to mention my mother less often in my blogs as per her request, although I think she secretly loves to be my muse.

I resolve to stop selling myself short. I’m fabulous!! (Of course, now I feel conceited!)

I resolve to feel conceited more often.

So, there you have them – my resolutions for 2012. Wish me luck!

New Years Resolutions

I’ve never been a fan of the New Years Resolution.  Through the years, I’ve silently laughed at all the new people who suddenly crowded the gym on January 2nd. And I counted the days until February 1st when I would stop seeing those people and could finally stop bitching about the line for the treadmill at 6:30 in the morning.  And the people who resolve to eat healthy?  Sure, they’ll stock their refrigerators with lettuce and tomatoes on January 2nd, but most will be eating chips and buffalo chicken wings long before the Super Bowl. 

I don’t make resolutions at the start of a new year because I hate to fail.  I’m incredibly hard on myself and if I start something I can’t finish, it makes me feel ‘less than.’   And so, I won’t resolve to channel my mother and thoroughly clean my apartment every Saturday morning, because that particular obsessive/compulsive gene was not passed down to me.  And I won’t vow to become a good cook because the truth is, I don’t really enjoy cooking and much prefer dining out or having others cook for me.   

The fact of the matter is that I will not become a neat freak and master chef at the mere drop of the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.  So I won’t bother to try.  I do, however, believe that people can take steps to improve themselves in small ways and agree that the new year is a good enough place to start as any.  And so, I cleaned out my closet today and finally threw out the leather pants I haven’t worn since 1999.  They’re hot, and I think they still might fit but I’m not going to wear them and they’re just taking up space in my small closet.  And I threw out the multiple drafts of Just Friends With Benefits I had printed out during the revision process which added to my already cluttered living space.  My apartment still does not look like my mother’s but it’s something.  And I will go food shopping tomorrow and stock my refrigerator with enough food to prepare my own meals a few times this week.  I won’t make coq au vin but I can certainly heat up soup, make tuna fish and even grill chicken, the last one only if I’m particularly ambitious.   

For shits and giggles, however, let’s just say I did make New Year’s Resolutions.  Hypothetically speaking, of course, they might include the following:

 Write a blog a week

 Finish my second novel

Really get into football and not just use it as an excuse to drink beer on Sundays 

Live in the present and stop worrying about the “what-ifs”

Let go of the things and people who have hurt me in the past. 

Stop taking it all so personally.  If people I knew from high school and college can’t bring themselves to click “like” on my Facebook page or God forbid, buy my book, so what?  It doesn’t make it any less of an accomplishment that I wrote one and got it published.

Don’t take my own insecurities out on the people who care for and are good to me.

 Kick fear to the curb

 And what the heck:

Work out harder

Eat healthy

Channel my inner Susan (my mom) by cleaning my apartment like the president is coming to dinner

Become an awesome cook. 

It’s a hypothetical list, remember?